Many Europeans spent Saturday showing solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, by answering the call for a day of protests against economic injustice and government cuts.
In the European Union’s capital Brussel, around 7,000 people demonstrated against austerity measures and corporate greed. Some of them were outside a branch of Dexia, the Belgian-French financial institution that recently received a four billion euro bailout.
Protesters also gathered in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol plaza, a site significant for Spain’s Indignados, whose aims were also being supported through worldwide protests on Saturday. At the height of the Indignado campaign, the plaza was a campsite for demonstrators calling for the government to deal with unemployment and stop welfare cuts.
One Spanish protester said: “I think today is a strong warning for governments all over the world. People are not happy with the current situation.”
Another man said he was there to advocate for people not doing as well as himself.
“I don’t have any problems because I have a stable job but I think that we should be supporting people who need help,” he said.
In Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, the economic situation and severe austerity measures are issues close to home. Saturday was a chance for demonstrators to vent their anger about the tough new budget announced by the government just days earlier. Organisers say 50,000 people peacefully walked through the streets towards the parliament building.